We are off to a great start to the school year in the band room at Meadow View! Please let me know if things have been a struggle on your end or if there is still something that needs to be taken care of for your student. It is important to me that every student has what is necessary for success in band.
I would like to give you some helpful information about practice logs as we are wanting to establish some good habits right from the beginning. Practice logs are due in band class every Wednesday with a parent/guardian signature on them. Our first practice log for the year is due tomorrow. When the students show it to me on Wednesday mornings, I will enter their grade into the grade book, initial the log so that you can know that it has been shown to me, and immediately give it back to the student. Practice logs are not accepted for credit after Thursday without special permission and I will not accept a log without a parent signature. If a student is sick at the end of the week or has some other unusual circumstance that prevents them from finishing the required amount, please write a brief note on that week and I will excuse it. If a student loses the practice log, new practice logs can be picked up from the band room or found on the band website here. The chart at the bottom of the log tells how much time is expected for students to practice. Watch it carefully, as the required time will change throughout the year.
Just like so many other things in life, it is very true that a musician is only as good as the amount of the time they spend practicing. I cannot stress enough how important it is for music students to establish good practice habits. Their grade is largely impacted by it, but more important, their enjoyment and success in band will largely hinge on their success or failure with individual practice. Below are a few good tips for how you can help your child be successful:
- Encourage regular habits. Help your child establish a routine. They are not required to practice every day, but practicing will be easier and more beneficial if done on a daily basis. I recommend that a student practice 5-6 days each week. Many students find the most success when they make a habit of practicing at the same time and in the same location every day. Pulling out the instrument is so much easier to do if it is a normal routine.
- Take your child to a concert/listen to great musicians. Attending a live performance can inspire a young musician to practice more than almost anything else. I often announce concerts to the students as I hear about them. You can sometimes find discounts for students, families, and seniors. Here are some great places to look for local concerts: The Hult Center, The Shedd Institute, The University of Oregon School of Music. In addition to live performances, there are a ton of great recordings of amazing musicians. Help your child discover some of the best musicians on their instrument and give them opportunities to listen. You can find a list of musicians here.
- Enroll your child in private lessons. I teach everybody in the class what they need in order to be successful on their instrument. Having private lessons with a professional instructor, however, will give them one-on-one opportunities that I am unable to give them in a large class setting. Private lessons can really motivate a student and give them an extra edge on their instrument. Contact me, Beacock Music, The Shedd Institute, or the University of Oregon School of Music for a list of local lesson teachers. There are sometimes scholarships available for students who are unable to afford private lessons.
- Encourage your child to practice with other people. Practicing alone is very important, but playing an instrument is a lot more fun with others. Have your child occasionally invite other band students to come over and practice with them. If you know how to play an instrument, play along with your child. You might have a ton of fun, too!
The band room is almost always open during lunch and after school (except Tuesdays) for students to get help, practice, or retake a test. Thanks for your support in helping your child develop great habits!